BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Senior Claire DeBoer led all scorers with 20 points, and sophomore Kyi English scored a season-high 16 to help Bucknell stay all alone at the top of the Patriot League women’s basketball standings with a 77-58 win at Lehigh on Wednesday.
Bucknell improved to 13-3 overall and 5-0 in the Patriot League. They have won eight straight games, just two shy of tying the program record of 10 straight set last season. Lehigh, which was picked second in the league’s preseason poll, dropped to 5-11 overall and 0-5 in the conference.
DeBoer and English led another outstanding shooting night for Bucknell. DeBoer went 8-of-12 from the field, English was 6-for-9, and the Bison shot 29-of-62 for a 47 percent clip. Defensively, they held Lehigh to 36 percent shooting.
Senior Sune Swart finished with 11 points, and sophomore Kate Walker added 10 to give Bucknell four players in double-figures. Walker tallied nine rebounds, just missing her first career double-double. Swart contributed to the defensive effort with three of the team’s five steals.
"I really enjoyed watching our group tonight," Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussel said. "There were solid efforts from everyone across the board, and I thought we played well together. It's amazing what happens when we take care of the ball on offense and play with great energy on defense. If those two things can be consistent, I'm excited to see where this team goes."
Bucknell finished with 77 points for the second straight game. After winning by six points or less in its first three league games, the Bison have won by an average of 24.0 points over the past two victories. The bench came through with solid production in both contests, including 21 points against Lehigh.
"We played a great last 25 minutes against Holy Cross, and we picked up today where we left off Sunday," Roussell said.
After leading by as much as 18, Bucknell took a 39-25 lead into the break behind 11 points from DeBoer and nine from Swart. The duo combined to go 8-of-12 from the field, leading the Bison to 47 percent shooting through two quarters.
Swart had nine points through the first 4:46 of play to help Bucknell take a 15-7 lead. The senior scored in a variety of ways, including two from the line, two on a putback, a 3-pointer, and a steal at midcourt that she took the other way for a layup.
DeBoer showed off her versatility in the second quarter, factoring in on 12 of the team’s 17 points. She scored six and dished out assists on a pair of 3-pointers.
The Bison’s first half advantage was fueled by 11 points on nine turnovers. They committed just five themselves, which led to only two Lehigh points.
Bucknell finished with 40 points in the paint compared to 24 for Lehigh. The Bison held a 39-31 advantage on the boards, winning the rebounding battle for the 72nd time in the past 79 games, including 15 of 16 this season.
Bucknell returns to Sojka Pavilion, where it has won 19 consecutive games, for a Patriot League game against Colgate on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Raiders are 5-11 overall and 2-3 in the conference after a 76-69 loss to Army West Point.